Organic Soil Amendments

Organic Mulch delivery to the farm

Over 20 years ago, we experimented with different soil types and potting mixtures for organic soil amendments. Leafgro, which is manufactured by the state of Maryland, has proven to be an excellent addition to our planting medium. Leafgro is made of leaves and grass clippings collected from the surrounding cities. Then professionally recycled into Leafgro at their enormous composting facility. At first, we tried to make our own leaf compost mixture. However, after tracking our cost, labor, and machine time to turn the composting, the total costs exceeded the price of purchasing truckloads of Leafgro from the State of Maryland.

Composting Process

The process of making compost involves turning long rows of leaves every few weeks after temperature testing at the base of the rows. When temperatures are too hot they can cause the leaves to catch on fire. If the temps are too cold, this promotes no weed burnout and less bacteria action to create the final product.  Leafgro is a consistent product, with nitrogen and micronutrients, as well as, a neutral ph in the 7 to 7.8 range. Perfect for our evergreen living fence production farm.

Benefits of Leafgro

We use Leafgro to add to the soil used in our field plantings of evergreen trees. By adding organic materials to parent soils, this:

  • helps relieve compaction
  • aids in summer water retention
  • inoculates the planting area with the composting bacteria
  • builds improved soil structure to better support plant life

The nutrients in the Leafgro are also readily available to the new plants. MES provides us with an analysis sheet of their finished product, which shows us the quality of the compost.  Most other composts, when purchased in bulk, tend to contain a lot of wood chips and stump grindings in the black mixture. This mixture is raw cellulose. In order to break down the complex lignans, cellular wall structures, etc, the composting bacteria must rob the soil of nitrogen to complete the composting process. Thus, delaying the immediate absorption by the plants. Ten years ago, we ran out of Leafgro and inadvertently bought a load of composted material from another source. Then, three months later, we could see the difference in our container tree production.

Leafgro has proven to be a superior organic soil amendment/conditioning product and is ready to use.  Leafgro creates a much stronger plant, with greener and more aggressive growth than compost with the hidden stump grindings. It is organic, pet and child safe. Using bulk composted Leafgro, which comes with an analysis sheet, helps us create the vibrant evergreen trees that we grow at Pryor’s Nursery for your living fence installation.

Below is a picture of the Leafgro facility where the professional-grade compost is made.